Amazing DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent!

AMAZING liquid laundry detergent, this stuff works so well and smells amazing! Guys, I’m not gonna lie to you, I’ve tried the homemade laundry detergent before intending to share it… and it was awful! I actually tried homemade laundry detergents twice before this one and both just did not make the cut. I had basically almost given up on DIY laundry detergent completely, when my good friend Keesha text me and said she had a recipe and wanted to make it together! I had my doubts, but she told me her mom and her sister had both been using this kind forever and swore by it and I decided I would give it a go. Holy cow.. I am in love with the stuff! I don’t know if it was because my first two attempts were for dry laundry detergent, or what, but this DIY liquid laundry detergent is AMAZING!


Every time I open up the washer to switch loads I am filled with joy because it smells fresh and clean, leaves no gross residue, and gets out tough dirt and stains! I have been so impressed, I basically couldn’t wait to share it with you. Not to mention, the recipe makes a 5 gallon tub and you only need 1/2 cup detergent for top loader machines and 1/4 for front loader machines per load! Suffice it to say, this recipe is gonna shrink your laundry expenses considerably! Let’s get started shall we?

AMAZING liquid laundry detergent, this stuff works so well and smells amazing!

4 from 2 votes
AMAZING liquid laundry detergent, this stuff works so well and smells amazing!
Amazing DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent!
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup Borax
  • Yummy smelling essential oils Optional I used Doterra's citrus bliss
  • 5 gallon bucket
  1. Heat 4 cups of water until boiling.
  2. Grate your Fels-Naptha soap bar (I just used a cheese grater) and add to boiling water. Stir continuously over medium low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
  3. Fill your 5 gallon bucket half full with HOT tap water, add melted soap, washing soda, and borax and stir well until all powder is dissolved.
  4. Fill the bucket the rest of the way to the top with hot water, stir, cover, and let sit overnight to thicken.
  5. The next day, stir well and fill an old laundry detergent container with detergent.
  6. If desired, add your essential oils at this point!
Recipe Notes

*Shake well before each use, because detergent can separate a bit.
*Top load machines use 1/2 cup per load, front load machines use 1/4 cup per load.

AMAZING liquid laundry detergent, this stuff works so well and smells amazing! ^^^Here is what my soap looked like after I grated it! You want to use the smallest grater that you have, so that it melts as quickly and easily as possible!

AMAZING liquid laundry detergent, this stuff works so well and smells amazing! ^^^Here is what our buckets full of soap looked like before they sat overnight and thickened a little!

Sooooo easy and soooo worth it you guys! I can guarantee you’re gonna be glad you tried this one!



P.S. If you liked this post be sure to check out my homemade laundry spot cleaner and our DIY magic cleaner!

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    I couldnt get my soap to mel all the way (zote)it geld up in clumps afTer over 20 minutes of stirring over medium heat . Any suggestions ?

    Charles Johnson

    WOW! lovely like this post. What a great review. it’s really amazing.


    I am having the hardest time getting this soap to melt!. I have been using the recipe that uses Dawn liquid soap and it is much easier except for the liquid is extremely thin so I thought I would try this to thicken it up like store bought laundry detergent but this is a lot of work!!😥

    Holly o'Hara

    Can this be used IF.The washing machine requires he detergent?


    I’ve BEEN DOINg a lot of research on homemade detergent. I’ve read a lot of articles about homemade detergent ruining washers & also not getting the CLOThes truly CLEAN. Just WONDERINg have you ever stripped your clean clothes to see if there was still DIrt. Apparently laundry soad and detergent are different (THERe was a whole scientific explanation that WENT over MY head). I just want to make sure I’m not RUINIng my brand NEW washer trying to save money on laundry detergent.


    Can I substitute the bar soap for liquid Castile soap? If so what’s the ratio?


      Yes that should be fine! Substitute one cup of the liquid Castile for the bar!


    When you say it thickens as it sits overnight, does it normally turn into a thick gel that you have to stir and break up before you can put into containers or did I do something wrong? I had to add a bit of hot water to mine to get it diluted to a runny consistency again. Thank you so much for the post though I was excited to find it!

    Verna Chaney

    I followed a link to this page and the picture used for that page was this detergent in an empty orange juice container – bad idea – it looked just like orange juice. BAD IDEA. Don’t use empty containers that were used for food that a child might be used to “helping themselves” too.

    Verna Chaney

    I followed a link to this page and the picture used for that page was this detergent in an empty orange juice container – bad idea – it looked just like orange juice. BAD IDEA. Don’t use empty containers that were used for food that a child might be used to “helping themselves” too.


    I have been using the same recipe, but you dilute it one step further….when you put it in your jug for everyday use, you fill the jug with 1/2 water and 1/2 detergent. That 5 gallon container gets doubled to make 10 gallons total! Have been doing it that way for some time now, and so has my sister….and it gets the clothes clean! Also, I don’t put it in the soap dispenser in my HE front loader (I read on one site that it could clog it up!)…….I have a glass 4 cup measuring cup on top of the washer that I put my 1/4 cup soap and just add some water to dilute a little further, and pour it on my clothes. I also use white vinegar in the softener bin….it helps release the soap in the rinse, and makes clothes soft…and there is NO vinegar odor….clothes just smell clean!! Using commercial softeners puts chemicals in your clothes, sheets, towels, etc….and then your skin is exposed to them 24/7 !!

    Julie Crutchley

    Hi Jessica – I’m interested in making this and I really would love to add Citrus Bliss to it, but I’m worried about storing it in plastic containers – don’t citrus oils “burn” through plastic?

      Jessica @ Pretty Providence

      I’ve never had a problem with it before, maybe because the amount of oil vs. liquid is so small? But you could also keep the oils separate and just add a drop or two to each load!

    Davina Duncan

    Holy Cow! 5 gallons is way more than i need. Any conversion to a gallon?

    Gail Abner

    Please check the EWG (Environmental Working Group) website before using any chemicals. I would not use Fels-Naptha or Borax because of the health risks. EWG gives Borax two Fs for being toxic.

    Nancy DeMarco

    Have used this for a year and a half. In that time the total cost for my laundry has been less than $20 for the soap and the washer is used several (and I emphasize several) times a week! Clothes smell wonderful and the come out clean and no dingy fabric’s over time.


    I have used homemade laundry detergent for about a year & am very pleased! But recently I read that Borax was toxic! My question is…Can you substitute something for Borax & it still be efficient?

      Jessica @ Pretty Providence

      I’m not sure I’ve never tried anything else before! I think it’s in most detergent!

      Jayne Achenbach McFarland

      You could use baking soda wash it is sold in Walmart right next to the Borax. Baking soda is non-toxin

    Jessica @ Pretty Providence

    I buy them through Doterra because my bf sells them and it’s easy, but if you type them in on Amazon tons will come up, or any local health food store (lots of regular grocery stores too)! I used probably 10-20 drops depending how I’m feeling! It’s just for scent really so however much you like!


    where do you buy essential oils and how much do you use


    We have a high efficiency washer, and I don’t think it would even hold half a cup of liquid soap. How does the amount of this compare with the amount used of the store bought stuff? Is it a one to one ratio – would I just use the same amount of this stuff as I would the high efficiency store bought liquid?

    Also, we typically use a color booster. Does this do that as well, would the booster still be needed? Or should they not be mixed?


      It says to only use 1/4 cup for high efficiency washers :)


    Will this detergent be oaky for sensitive skin? My daughter has eczema. And is it septic safe? =)

      Jessica @ Pretty Providence

      We have eczema in our house too and I haven’t noticed a worsening with this detergent! Ours is pretty bad though so in the winter we have to use heavy creams to keep it in control either way! And yes!


    I love this recipe and have been using it for a while now, but mine always thickens too much… I end up adding globs not cups to my running wash. Any ideas?


    Is this okay for sensitive skin? My daughter has eczema.


      My kids have super sensitive skin and they have been fine with it- but I would definitely watch her close after the first wash!

    Kathleen D

    What scents do you use in your detergent?

      Jessica @ Pretty Providence

      I typically use wild orange from doterra, because I love the smell and I have a bunch on hand, but you could use any essential oil you like the smell of.. Lavender, lemon, etc!


    I MADE IT and it is awesome. I have lots of supply left over so I can make more for at least a yr (just me and my hubby) I did not add oil cuz I like the fresh natural smell and didn’t want to extra ingredients not needed….IF UR HAPPY HAPPY CLAP UR HANDS

      Jessica @ Pretty Providence

      Haha hooray!!!! You just totally made my morning!! I’m so glad you love it as much as I do! Thanks for the sweet comment :)


    How do we store it? Will keeping it in a hot garage damage it any, I live in Florida where it’s always hot!?

      Jessica @ Pretty Providence

      I live in a place where it’s always hot too! We just keep our bucket in our laundry room. Maybe try the floor of a closet or something? The garage may be fine but I’ve never tried it!

    Jessica @ Pretty Providence

    Mine has taken more than one day to thicken before.. No worries! You can start using it right away and you will notice it thickening over time! It’s still effective now though!


    So I made it but mine didn’t thicken. Is there anything I can do? Can I add more borax?


    I did it! It’s now covered and in the getting-thick phase. Very pleased to eliminate that very expensive laundry detergent from my budget! Thank you !!


    How much essential oil do I add? I’ve always thought oils would stain my clothes?

    Yvonne Prado

    I know some laundry Detergents wear out your clothes or fade them does this do that?

    Vanessa Marquiss Barker

    I’ve always wanted to make my own but have never tried. I’m going to try this one. How much would you say it cost you?

      Jessica @ Pretty Providence

      It cost me probably $20 for the supplies (including bucket) but my friend and I both made 5 gallons each and I still have some supplies left over! I already had the essential oils on hand though! And this will last me way longer than a normal detergent would! Super cost effective.


        Essential oils – wont it react with the plastic of the gallon bucket?


          It’s never been a problem for me!


    What is the shelf life?


    I really want to try this! I just have one question. My washing machine is a front loader and the instructions say it requires high efficiency laundry detergent so that’s what I’ve always used. Do you know if anyone has tried it in a machine that needs HE detergent and had success? Thanks!